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Cricket underlines depth of institutional racism

26th Nov 2021
Cricket underlines depth of institutional racism

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Sport has increasingly become at the forefront combating racism in the UK. ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ was established as far back as 1993. Much more belatedly, the five Sports Councils responsible for investing in sport across the UK established an anti-racism group. The 2020 US police murder of George Floyd was a catalyst for the Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport Review, said the Council.

The growing scandal of institutional racism in cricket underlines the extent of the problem. Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has threatened that the Government will take the “nuclear option” of creating an independent regulator if the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) do not “put its house in order”. The issue has gradually surfaced over the treatment of former spinner Azeem Rafiq by Yorkshire and has ballooned with others coming forward at other county clubs hinting at the magnitude affecting players of particularly Pakistani heritage.

Last month, The Muslim News editorialised about the hypocrisy and double standards of the ECB in abruptly cancelling a tour of Pakistan in September. The national body was accused of showing “Western arrogance” and it must be questioned whether it is the right organisation capable of addressing institutional racism in cricket. In giving evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in Parliament about his experiences of racism as a player, it was notable that all 11 MP members were white.

In a recent report, the ECB noted while people of south Asian heritage made up one-third of recreational cricketers; they constituted a mere 4% of professional players in 2018. Rafiq himself has claimed British Asian representation in professional cricket has dropped nearly 40% in the last decade. Although the national body has launched its own inquiry and has the power to impose sanctions against clubs, it must be highly doubtful if it is the right way of addressing the scale of the problem or whether it will end up like the way Yorkshire has continually denied there was an issue.

The response has so far been little more than a knee-jerk reaction as is often the case and turned into a kind of witch-hunt, often short-lived. It is as if a week or two of sensational headlines, a few suspensions, the odd fine and meaningless pledges will resolve the problem of how deeply embedded institutional racism is. But it is not only in cricket or most sports in general but in the wider society everywhere. It will take much more than symbolic gestures and more than a few months or

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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